When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal soar through the mud in the hills that surround my Maryland home. The other day I went outside barefoot to fetch one of my child’s shoes and a piece of pottery stabbed my heel. I had a small infection and was wondering how long ago this fragment was.
A neighbor of mine found out what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion cap gun in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the Battle of Monocacy in July 1864 was fought for these reasons, and 1,300 Union troops and 900 Confederate troops were killed or wounded here. The stuff that pops up in my fields when it storms may or may not be combat artifacts, but it reminds me that the past lingers and modern America was born into a civil war.
Increasingly, I can’t help but think about possible new civil wars in this country and the violence we could inflict on one another. Recently a family member re-posted a YouTube video on their Facebook page allegedly showing an anti-fascist who accidentally set himself on fire (with the mocking 1980s hit “Footloose” in the background). “I’ll just leave this here,” she read her caption. Shortly afterwards, she claimed that the “YouTube voice police” had turned it off.
I thought of telling her something about how people in countries I worked in without democracy celebrate the misery of their opponents. Was that really, I wanted to ask, what kind of country would they like our children to see us made? But I have decided not to divide our family, which has grown apart since Donald Trump took office. Besides, I knew it wouldn’t do any of us to confront her. Inspired by a President who is an excellent example of never self-monitoring what you are doing, she would have simply dismissed my comments as the frivolous words of the “politically correct”.
war and peace
Nowadays, when I watch the news and see clashes between the police, Black Lives Matter protesters, far-right “militias” and anti-fascist supporters, I am often reminded that this is not the case just because no one has declared a civil war That is, we are not staring at the prerequisites for armed conflict.
Our military service members and their families have worked for endless years in Afghanistan, Iraq and so many other countries in the Middle East and Africa under the guise of building democracy and waging a “war on terror.” You did this in accordance with more than 7,000 of their own life, a million Hundreds of thousands of their own injuries and illnesses civil deaths in these distant lands and significantly more than $ 6 trillion in funding from the American taxpayer. In such circumstances, it is not surprising that they now live in a country lacking in resources and broken in a way that is just beginning to resemble, at least modestly, the war zones in which they fought.
For me this is both a personal and a professional matter. As the wife of a naval officer who completed three missions in nuclear and ballistic missile submarines and one in an aircraft carrier, and mother of two young children, me testify in small but significant ways to the physical, emotional and financial burden that endless war puts on those who struggle. I think of those long separations from my husband, his (and mine) unlimited working hours, the chronic health problems that are remarkably neglected in the Navy, the cloudiness caused by war-traumatized commanders, an almost fatal boat accident, the increasing frequency of violence and suicides among military families Lack of consideration for obvious safety precautions during the Covid-19 pandemicand the service’s underfunded health and childcare systems – and that’s just to start a far longer list.
As a co-founder of Brown University War Project Costs and a therapist who has worked with active troops, veterans, and most recently children and adults who have come here as refugees and asylum seekers from the countries where the US is still fighting, I continue to show in my own way the human cost of war American style. As I look up into the oak and elm forest in the hills around my house, where Americans once undoubtedly took shelter from bullets fired by their compatriots, it seems less and less farfetched that my family should be asked about an armed man To participate in the conflict on American soil.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a line from former President Barack Obama’s recent Democratic National Convention speech still in my head: “Don’t let them take your democracy.” In my life I had never heard a former president refer to as “they” a government that is still supposed to be by, by and for the people – especially a president who is as understated as he is. As a military spouse, I wonder where my family will get into this widening gap between “us” and “them”.
Intimidation and even armed attacks are clearly a reality in American cities. Take, for example, the President’s decision to send Federal troops Using tear gas to kill peaceful protesters near the White House so he can pursue a botched photo op. And that only happened after he declared:war“To a virus whose effects are made worse by inhaling this gas. He and Attorney General William Barr have similarly ignored the eyes of physical violence against and intimidation of protesters through far-right groups whose racism, anti-Semitism and support for the slave history of this country is evident. Our commander in chief has threatened, but at least so far has shied away from starting new foreign wars (thank God), using military helicopters Intimidate protesters and allowed Homeland Security agents kidnap Protesters from the streets of an American city.
Of course, the antifa activist in this video my relative posted (if it was real at all) could have been part of the same problem, as well as those who looted shop windows, vehicles, and public property to make a point (or Not). during the protests of these past months. Yet what choices did many of them have? Isn’t it our main problem that those in power grow more economically in a country? unequal From month to month they see themselves increasingly not as threatened by the people but only as threatened by the people – by, that is, by us?
More to the point, as Professor Robin Kelley wrote in one op-ed to the The New York TimesWhat kind of society values property over black lives?
Even journalism, once considered a hallmark of our democracy, has become the target of endless insults and intimidation against the President, including Memes like the one in which the president hits an opponent on the head with CNN. In addition, some of the Republican Party’s vocal leaders condone racism almost directly. Typical of this Trumpian moment is, for example, that the rising star in the Senator of the Arkansas Republican Party, Tom Cotton, described slavery as “necessary evil. “In June he even did pushed that the Army 101st Airborne Division will be sent out to deal with Black Lives Matter protesters.
In these circumstances, violence can be the only thing that actually attracts the attention of parts of a nation who seem indifferent to the dehumanization and disenfranchisement of large parts of that country’s population.
Like Iraq and Afghanistan, which show an increase Sectarianism and ViolenceThe United States seems to be turning into its own kind of sectarian conflict. After all, the police, who are now regularly armed by the Pentagon, have weapons and other equipment sometimes taken from distant war zones in this country, increasing wages a kind of proto-counterinsurgency on our streets.
At the center of today’s crisis is a grim but simple fact: it was in this century that American brokers decided to invest breathtaking sums of tax money, labor and time in distant and catastrophic “forever wars”. As Catherine Lutz and Neta Crawford, co-directors of the Costs of War project, recently wrote in an article op-edHad some of the money this country spent on its wars after September 11th been invested in health care, we would have had the resources to fight the Covid-19 pandemic so much more effectively. The same could be said of us crumbling infrastructure and Lack of money public schools.
Speaking of public education, as the economist Heidi Garrett-Peltier did pointed out$ 1 million in federal spending creates nearly twice as many public education jobs as an “investment” in the Pentagon. If the money had been diverted from the military-industrial complex elsewhere, we might have been able to return to school reasonably safely with enough teachers, staff, and protective equipment to provide small-group tuition, sanitation, and social distancing. Our inability to effectively deal with the pandemic has, in turn, resulted in our children losing the opportunity to receive personal education – for reasonably safe interaction with their peers and teachers from all walks of life.
Recently after my kindergarten teacher overheard a conversation about the killing of police officers Breonna Taylor At their home in Louisville, Kentucky, he asked me if “they” could come and kill us in our home as well. I assured him it wasn’t, but I did mention our (white) privilege in relation to some of his black preschool friends that he loved and that he won’t be able to visit in person this fall.
I then tried to explain how in this country the right to life is not shared equally. He replied simply enough, “Yes, but I don’t see her anymore.” And I couldn’t help but believe that the very same kind of social distancing where you can’t interact with people whose lives and perspectives are different from yours could be a grim sectarian legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic in one country could it look like it is going apart at the seams. During these months, the Black Lives Matter activists, who so often fill our TV screens and streets with their righteous anger, are among the few who are reminding my children to care about racial inequality.
On the trail of September 11th?
How did this country get to the point where a significant part of us – the vocal supporters of our President – are comfortable degrading the humanity of blacks and liberals or progressives of all kinds? Think of this as the 9/11 path, from the moment the Bush administration launched what it quickly dubbed the “Global War on Terror” in response to a series of terrorist attacks by 19 mostly Saudi kidnappers, and then Iraq invaded Afghanistan, and then … well, you know the rest of the forever nightmare that never ends. In doing so, they turned the Pentagon (and the war industries associated with it) into a hole for our tax money and our dreams for the future.
Not least, we have reached this point of discomfort, sectarianism, and strife because we worship the military to solve the real problems of the staggering and growth of global and American inequality, economic and otherwise. My spouse and I stay up late talking about the upcoming elections. Even if (and that’s a big “if”) the vote on November 3rd turns out to be free and fair – hard to imagine in the face of a pandemic that has further disenfranchised the color communities and given Trump’s gimmicks encouraging Double voice, Bad breath Postal ballot and search Covering up or rewriting national intelligence information about the interference in the Russian elections – who wouldn’t worry about November 4th? Or 5 or 10 or whenever all of those mail-in votes are counted for good? What uproar is this president going to stir up among his supporters, including a heavily armed and villainous Department of Homeland Security, if he appears to be losing?
And what about the day of initiation? Trump has already threatened not to accept any results he does not like. My husband is certain that our military will escort him out of the Oval Office if necessary and provide nuclear football to a hypothetical President Biden. I ask this thanks to acts like Trump’s recent scheduled appointment of the retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a staunch supporter of his, known for his extreme Islamophobia and racist remarks, to the secondary political post of the Department of Defense over the bipartisan objections of Congress.
That we even have to envision a military solution to the usual peaceful transfer of power is both absurd and the 2020 version of the reality. Therefore, what his enemies call “political correctness” – respect for decency, kindness and the peaceful mechanisms of the Democracy – Critical. If you don’t like what the other side’s nominees say or do, put them to the ballot box. Organize other voters. Write letters and attend town hall meetings. Supporting evidence-based journalism. But do not invalidate the mechanisms that have allowed us to improve our union for centuries.
War is an indescribable nightmare. I got the slightest impression of his horror from my work on the Costs of War Project. of photos of bloody, painful children in our war zones; from testimonies I have heard from refugees and survivors who mourn the killing, mutilation, or rape of loved ones; and from the stories of veterans being persecuted about having to shoot other people, even armed children, in cold blood.
We cannot allow ourselves to be consumed by such violence. I don’t want to wonder if my family and others like us could one day hide in the woods to escape a government that tells us to do the unthinkable and kill or torture other Americans. Military families – most of them far more than mine – have suffered for far too long without watching our own country become a new war zone.